Augusta, ca. – Hideki Matsuyama gave golf-crazy Japan the biggest and greenest gift of all.
Matsuyama became the first Japanese winner of the green jacket to win the final trophy at the Masters on Sunday, ten years after making his sterling debut as the best amateur player at the Augusta National.
Matsuyama closed with only 1 over 73 and a shot win at the end, and never seriously doubted Sander Schaffel’s late charge after ending with a three-pose at Bar-16.
Just minutes before Dustin Johnson was to help with the green jacket, Matsuyama Butler needed no translator in the cabin when she said “I’m so happy” in English.
Very master of this performance, Matsuyama extended his lead to just a few moments for six shots on the back of nine. With a four-shot lead, he went green in the second on Bar-5 15th, which was tough from the back slope into the pool in the 16th hole.
Matsuyama was good to go away with the bogey, and Shaffel created the fourth straight bird and took the lead with three shots on board.
The next swing is all over. Schaffelin’s tea shot at Bar-3 16 bounced off the mountain and into the pool. His third shot from the drop area went to the gallery. He was injured with a triple-bogey 6.
Don’t forget that Matsuyama has sunk three of his last four holes. What’s important is that walking up to the 18th Green, you only need to explode from the bunker and take two puddles to win.
That’s what he did, the final bogey for a one-shot victory over 24-year-old Masters Rookie Will Saladoris, who closed in with 70 runs and was in training range in the playoffs.
For her 15th win worldwide, Matsuyama finished 278th under 10 and sixth on the PGA Tour.
He was the second man from an Asian country to achieve great success. YE Yang of South Korea defeated Tiger Woods at the 2009 PGA Championships in Hazelin.
Canadian Corey Connors finished six pages behind Matsuyama, finishing eighth with American Patrick Reid. The top-10 finisher won his game at the Masters the following year. Connors topped the top 10 at last year’s event.
However, Listowall’s native, Ont., Was more than ready to challenge for the green jacket.
Connors sat in sixth after a Saturday hole and third round. He climbed the leaderboard on Sunday with a bird on the second hole, but slipped into the middle of the round with three bogeys and a double pose before the end of the day with 2 overs 74 runs.
Dantas’ fellow Canadian McKenzie Hughes, Ont., Finished 40th in a six-way dive.